The Longest War

The end of Roe v. Wade will entail a nationwide reconciliation effort

As coverage of the March for Life 2022 winds down, I reflect that the mood in the pro-life movement seems very different now than ever before.

I never attended the March for Life in Washington. But one year I did attend the smaller March for Life in Chicago. I remember walking through frigid streets among people filled with joyful hope that the killing of the innocents would soon be over. That joyful hope was overshadowed, though, by thoughts of politics and courts, of the reality of the hold the abortion industry has on our country. We marched and sang, prayed and believed. But we all knew, I think, that we would have to hold out a little longer for the reign of terror to be done.

Now, as I watch news coverage of the 2022 March from afar, I sense a sobering on both sides of the abortion debate. Dobbs v. Jackson is on the docket. This could be it; the end of Roe really could be nigh. Even Planned Parenthood seems to sense it. The license to kill may be revoked. God willing it will be so.

But what lies beyond that first reckoning, with the rotten decisions and laws which have plunged our nation into the despair of sin and cynicism, is another reckoning, one perhaps more painful than the first.

Yes, we have had bad judges, bad verdicts, bad legislation, bad leadership. We must think hard about how we got to the point where the constitution was used as cover for genocide. We must think about that for a very long time.

Even those of us in the pro-life movement must ask ourselves hard questions. I know men and women who have been arrested, some many times, for peacefully protesting at abortion clinics. Why did I, too, not have the courage to join them? Why did I not lay my life on the line for my brother and sister in the womb?

But beyond the debate over laws and policies, we must also think about what we as a country have been through these past fifty years. Forget Afghanistan, forget Vietnam. Abortion is America’s longest war. We have all been in the trenches. Some have been warring on the unborn, a horror which has traumatized us all. It will take much longer for us to come to terms with this war, with the evil that has soaked us through.

This longest war will be with us for a long time, even — especially — after it ends. Perhaps a reprisal of a passage from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address will convey what I mean: Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of abortion may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that our atonement for it continue until all the wealth piled by the abortionists’ fifty years of murder shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the scalpel shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

I have often thought that what will be needed after Roe is a truth and reconciliation commission, a nationwide soul-searching. Overturning Roe is not going to change the pro-choicer’s heart overnight. He or she will need to be convinced that evil has been done, and that he or she has been a part of it. That will be a long road to walk, and one fraught with peril.

Fifty years of state-sanctioned death, of murder for hire lauded at the highest levels of our political system. Fifty years of callous slogans dehumanizing the preborn. Fifty years of hardened hearts. That won’t just go away with a few sheets of paper issued by the Supreme Court. That forever war, the longest active conflict in our history with the most casualties by orders of magnitude, will take a lifetime, at least, to work through.

Pro-lifers have loved the preborn. I have not loved enough, not nearly, I reflect. Once Roe is on the dust heap of history where it belongs, however, we will have to love the pro-choicer perhaps even more than we loved the preborn child. We loved the innocent. Now we must love our enemy. That, I suggest, is going to be the hardest part.

As the pro-life movement enters what could be the last leg of the long race, let us remember that even if we get to cross the finish line, we have a whole other journey ahead of us.

 

Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan.

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